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Quick Tips on Managing a Team That’s Older Than You


Becoming a manager is a major step in your career. Whether you were promoted internally or joined a new company to move up the ladder, you’re probably feeling simultaneously excited and terrified — especially because you’re managing people older than you.

Millennials compose more than one-third of the workforce, according to the Pew Research Center, so this situation is more common than you might think. Your direct reports have more years of experience than you, but you earned this job, so find out how to manage them effectively.

Get to Know Your Staff

Relationships are crucial in business, especially when you’re managing baby boomers and Gen-Xers. Seasoned professionals place a higher value on face-to-face conversations than your tech-savvy peers. Honor this by meeting with each person one-on-one to get to know them. Learn key information such as their preferred work style, area of expertise, and career goals. They’ll appreciate this gesture and it will help you do your job better.

Avoid Making Unnecessary Changes

Some new managers join a team and immediately change everything, just because they can. This move won’t win you any points with older generations, so think before you act. Some changes will likely need to be instated for the better, but avoid switching things up that are perfectly fine in their current state. Remember, you’re the new guy or girl. Your employees have been in their positions for a while, so respect their turf.

Recognize Their Expertise

Older employees have acquired a wealth of knowledge you don’t possess. Acknowledge the unique expertise each person brings to the table that makes them invaluable. Stepping on their toes and behaving like a know-it-all won’t win you any points, so show them the respect they deserve. For example, instead of telling them how to do their job, find out what you can do to make their work life easier.

Behave Like a Boss                                

If you’re afraid to exert your authority, you won’t last as a manager. There’s no need to behave like a dictator — in fact, that’s a major don’t — but hold your head up high and be the boss. Make decisions with confidence — fake it if you have to — clearly relay your expectations, and hold your team accountable for following the rules. You were given this job for a reason, so own it.

Need a little help finding the right engineering, maintenance, or operations management professionals for your team? Join forces with MAC Incorporated to connect with industry-leading talent excited to work for you! Contact us today to learn more.



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